Hamilton Boys' High principal Susan Hassall broke the mould 22 years ago, becoming New Zealand’s first ever female principal of an all-boys school.
Today, she’s been recognised as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
She said her pursuit of high standards and achievement had coincided with a gradual change in the education of young men.
"Over the past 20 years, what’s really changed in education is that boys have been able to become a different kind of good man," she told 1 NEWS.
"There’s been a gentling in the way we perceive masculinity."
Hassall said changes in education since she began teaching had helped young people develop confidence, as they started to recognise their place in the world.
"There’s a greater focus on making a difference and that’s been a genuine shift within the last 20 years, that young men leave here recognising their responsibility to the world that they’re part of."